Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Revisiting Mattel's Enchantimals

You might be surprised to see an Enchantimal review here today, since I reviewed the line when they first came out in 2017.  But I have a few reasons for revisiting this brand.  First of all, I've been reminiscing a lot about dolls from the early days of this blog--especially my older Monster High and Ever After High characters.  I blame this nostalgia on the re-emergence of Monster High and the rumors that occasionally swirl around about an Ever After High re-boot.  As I was searching the internet for photos of my Ever After High favorites (like Holly O'Hair and Ashlynn Ella) I came across Enchantimal pictures, too.  I'd forgotten how similar the Enchantimal and Ever After High faces are!

Seeing those photos sent me into a deep-dive on Amazon and eBay, where I was amazed to see how much the Enchantimal brand has expanded over the last six years.  Not only are there a ton of different animals now, but there are also male characters, larger animal companions, a few eight-inch and twelve-inch dolls, some smaller four-inch dolls, and even a few surprise-themed sets.  

My internet searches also revealed that the Enchantimals are still being made.  I assumed that they were discontinued at this point, but no: there are new dolls for 2023.  Can you believe that Ever After High only lasted four years, and yet the little Enchantimals have been around for six years and counting?  It's crazy!  My initial review didn't make me think that they had much staying power, but I was clearly wrong.  So it's time to take a second look.  I'm very curious to see how the brand has changed since my last assessment.

Enchantimals Felicity and Feana Fox by Mattel, $16.99.

I absolutely loved browsing the diversity of animals that are represented by the Enchantimals these days.  It's quite impressive.  And I'll confess that I got a little carried away with my purchases.  However, given that there were moments when I wanted to buy all of the Enchantimals, the five or six that I did buy doesn't feel so bad.  The prices on these little dolls have remained reasonable, too (between $5and $20), so you can get a lot for your money.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to de-box and talk about all of the critters I bought, but I can show you a few in-box photos.

I was particularly charmed by the ocean characters, like Jessa Jellyfish:

Jessa Jellyfish and Marisa.
I love Jessa's jellyfish hat, her bubble skirt with starfish on it, her scaly tank top, and of course her happy companion, Marisa:

She also has color change hair.
I have a thing for seahorses, so I was also charmed by Sedda Seahorse and her family of four seahorse friends:

Sedda Seahorse and family.
Sedda has a vinyl tail-like skirt, and would be a fun underwater companion!

I also like the dolls that come with large animal companions, like Zelena Zebra and her friend Hoofette:

Zelena Zebra and Hoofette.
Zelena's skirt print is really pretty, and Hoofette is adorable:

I would have been ecstatic about a toy like this when I was a kid.

And who can resist a narwhal??

I can't.
Nadine Narwhal is super-cute (with freckles!) and her buddy Sword (also with freckles?) looks extremely pleased with herself:

Nadine Narwhal and Sword.
Those are the dolls that I actually bought, but I was tempted by several more, and they still linger in my Amazon cart.

I mean, look at Esmerelda Elephant!

I love her ears!
And I think Falon Phoenix's coloring is striking:

Falon Phoenix with Sunrise.
There are animals as exotic as a tree frog:

Tamika Tree Frog with Burst.
And as common as a corgi:

Crizia Corgi with Show.
The boy characters are fun, too, and I actually purchased one for this review.  Hixby Hedgehog isn't the doll I bought, but he was the first male character to be introduced, so here's a stock photo of him:

The glasses are fantastic.
The larger 12-inch Enchantimal Huggables tempted me, but they're hard to find in the United States, and can be very expensive.  Also, they don't appear to have much articulation:

12-inch Huggable Enchantimal Danessa Deer and Sprint.
The 8-inch Royal Enchantimals have knee joints, but they're also difficult to find in this country.  I especially like the unicorn character, Queen Unity, but the cheapest one I could find was over $60 with international shipping:

8-inch Royal Enchantimal Queen Unity.
There are some surprise-themed Enchantimals, too, like this Baby Best Friends set with three mystery baby animals!

Baby Best Friends Hedda Hippo, 2023.
I would have loved to include Hedda Hippo and her surprise babies in today's review, but I couldn't find her anywhere.  Not even for $60.

There's another surprise series called Secret Besties that's easier to find in this country.  These are 3.5-inch dolls with little houses and animal companions that nest together like a matryoshka doll.  I love matryoshka dolls!

Look at the sloth!
I think these toys are adorable, and will end the review with one of them.

But first, I want to look at another type of Enchantimal doll that's emerged in the last six years: the 4-inch little sisters.

As far as I know, these little sister dolls only come in sets with a traditional 6-inch doll.  So I chose the Felicity and Feana Fox sister set, since Felicity was one of the characters that I examined in my 2017 review:

Sister set: Felicity Fox and Flick, plus Feana Fox and Mixte.
This set comes in a blister pack with a cardboard back and some cardboard ornamentation on the front.  I think the suggested retail price is $16.99, but I found it for $14.

Both Felicity and Feana come with fox friends, and the fox's names are Flick (Felicity's fox) and Mixte (Feana's fox):

At first I misread Mixte as "Mixie," which is a cute name.  Mixte means "mixed" in French...which doesn't really help me understand it as a fox's name.

The back of the box has a lot of little photos of other Enchantimal products, and for somebody like me who's trying to catch up on the last six years of releases, this was very helpful:

Based on the box copyright, these are all products that were released in 2021.

There's Bree Bunny and her very cute pink rabbit car:

I love cars named after animals, so I was thrilled as a little kid when my family bought a Volkswagen Rabbit.  It felt like a new pet.  My dad would even make it "hop" for me by doing some crazy thing with the clutch.  Anyway, the fact that Bree has a rabbit car seems especially cool to me for this reason.

Volkswagen Rabbit
Our car looked like that, but white.
In addition to Bree and her rabbit car, there are five different sister sets.  

There's Bree Bunny with her sister Bedelia and Patter Peacock with her sister Piera:

The little sisters have awesome names.
Next, we have Danessa Deer with her sister Danetta, Sage Skunk with her sister Sabella, and Felicity and Feana:

Most of the pet names are verbs (Twist, Flap, Sprint, Flick, Caper, etc), so in that context Mixte makes more sense...it's just in a different language.

Both the front and the back of the box have artwork depicting Felicity and Flick:

I've always liked the Enchantimal box art, and it appears to have maintained its quality (and maybe the same artist?) over the years. 

Here's a reminder of what Felicity's 2017 box art looked like:

2017 Felicity Fox box art.
I might slightly prefer the art on the older box, but both are charming.

Inside the blister pack, Felicity, Feana, Flick and Mixte were all secured inside a molded plastic shell.  The fit of the shell was so snug that no rubber bands or plastic ties were required.  Imagine that.

I remember having a terrible time getting my original Felicity to balance on her own.  I could only snap a quick picture as she was falling over:

2017 Felicity Fox...about to fall.
But this Felicity (and her sister) can both stand without any help.  It's a challenge to get Felicity to stand, granted, but at least it's possible:

I'll take a closer look at Felicity first:

There have been a lot of different Felicity dolls over the years, so it's not like the 2017 version and the one in today's review are the only two options.  But I still feel like it's interesting to see a more current version of the character alongside the original.

2021 Felicity (left) and 2017 Felicity (right).

A lot of differences are apparent right away.  First of all, the hair, hairstyle, and eye colors are not exactly the same, and the outfit has completely changed, too.  I prefer the expressive hand and arm mold of the older doll to the straight limbs of the newer version, but I appreciate that the newer doll has shoes that help her balance.  2017 Felicity had to borrow shoes in order to stand.

I'd say that from a distance, I prefer the older Felicity to the newer one--mainly because of the arms, outfit, and hair.  The new doll's hair is really long and messy.

The new Felicity doesn't have much of a hairstyle, and there's a red plastic headband that obscures her cute fox ears:

This type of hair fiber holds its shape in a stubborn way, so it won't fall straight down Felicity's back:

Behind that curvy sheet of hair, you can see that Felicity has a fuzzy orange fabric tail attached to the middle of her back:

The location and attachment method of this tail is the same as it was in 2017, i.e. it's tied with an elastic string into a very unconventional tail position:

I think that the fabric tail is a big part of Felicity's balance problems.  That and her heavy hair.

I was eager to get the headband out of the way, but it came rubber-banded and plastic-tied to Felicity's head:

I snipped the two plastic ties and was able to remove the headband and brush Felicity's hair:

It didn't make much of a difference.
The headband is simple, with a molded bow and holes on either side for the plastic ties:

Behind the bow, Felicity has immobile orange plastic ears.  On her left side, the ear has a molded yellow flower decoration, and on her right side, she has a rooted side part:

The rooting is very good overall, with dense plugs and a painted scalp:

I also like the rich burgundy color of the hair.  But the hair fiber isn't great, as I mentioned before.  I'm not sure if it's cheap nylon or polypropylene, but it always looks messy and will not lay smoothly against Felicity's head.

I tied the hair back into a ponytail so that I could enjoy the elaborate face paint:

2021 Felicity Fox.
The face paint is the biggest difference that I notice between this doll and the original.  This Felicity has vibrant, smooth paint with no pixelation.  It's beautiful.  Her eyes are mint green with crisp reflective marks and well-defined lashes.  Her mouth and nose are simple, but they're well-placed with no defects.

The orange and white fur-like pattern on Felicity's face (which I think looks like a moth) is also clear and bright with no smudges or pixelation:

2021 Felicity Fox.
Compare that to the 2017 Felicity, who has several areas of pixelation and smudging on her face:

2017 Felicity Fox.
The colors aren't as crisp and vibrant, either.  It's like the difference between a Signature Barbie's face and a typical Fashionista face.

I'm not sure when the change in face paint occurred--or even if it's consistent.  The dolls that I bought are from 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021 (based on box date), and the dolls from 2019 and later have better face paint than the 2017 dolls.  I don't have any 2018 dolls to see what those faces look like up-close.

The face paint might have changed a lot in the last six years, but the new outfit has a very similar style to the original, with a painted bodice and a removable skirt and boots:

The removable items are generic, with nothing that makes them fox-themed.  

The boots are bright blue with molded socks, flowers, and laces, but no painted decorations.  The skirt is fabric with an elastic waistband and a raw hem.  It has a red, yellow, and orange floral pattern against a blue gingham backdrop:

Underneath the skirt, Felicity has orange plastic underwear that connects to her bodice like a bodysuit:

There's a ridge in the plastic just above her waist that keeps the skirt from riding up:

The pattern on the painted bodice is meant to look like suspenders over an orange and white blouse.  There's a small amount of pixelation in this area, and I think part of the pattern on the right side of the blouse (the left side of the photo) is missing:

2021 Felicity Fox.
The design on the new bodice is more complex than the original, but I'd say that the quality is about the same.  Here's the older blouse as a reminder:

2017 Felicity Fox.
The Enchantimals' articulation has not changed at all in the past six years.  The six-inch dolls still have only five points of articulation (neck, shoulders, hips).

Felicity can spin her head around, but there's no up-and-down or tipping movement:

She also looks more and more upwards as her head turns.

Her shoulders have hinged rotation, so they can lift straight away from her body:

And they can spin around:

Even though I prefer the bent-arm body type, Felicity's arm and hand shape is really detailed--especially for such a small doll:

Felicity's hips have simple rotation, so she can do front-to-back splits, but not side-to-side splits:

It was difficult to get her into the split position.  The backwards movement of her legs gets very stiff after a certain point.

She can sit upright on the ground nicely, though:

And her arched foot mold is cute:

Speaking of cute, let's see how Felicity's pet Flick has changed over the years.  Here's the 2017 Flick:

2017 version of Flick.
She has a highly-pixelated face and a fuzzy orange tail:

2017 version of Flick.
The newer Flick looks familiar:

Still doing the disco pose.
But the face has been painted differently, there's less pixelation, and all of the colors are brighter.

Also, instead of a fuzzy fabric tail, the newer Flick has a vinyl tail...and a handle:

Or alien jaws.
I think that's a handle.  What else would it be?  It's really unsightly, and leaves a gaping hole in Flick's back:

A gaping maw!
Flick's vinyl tail has simple rotational movement:

I'm fine with the substitution of a vinyl tail for a fabric tail--especially because the new tail is articulated.  But that weirdo alien handle thing in the back, with a window into Flick's hollow interior?  That's not okay.

I tried to get Felicity to interact with Flick using the handle, but it's not easy to use.  If Flick is perched on Felicity's skinny arm or wrist, he just tips over:

Air face plant.
I was able to balance Flick on parts of Felicity's hand, but this isn't very stable, either:

It looks like she's pouring tea, not cuddling a pet.
And because of her straight arms, she has to hold him very far away from her body!

Here are a few more photos of Felicity on her own:

Her hair tends to look messy, and she does not have very many posing options:

And her balance is still pretty bad, but I like this girl's bright, crisp face paint.  That feature alone makes her feel more high-quality than her predecessor.

It was fun to get an up-close look at a newer version of Felicity, but I was more excited to see one of the little sister dolls, since this is something that didn't exist back in 2017.

Here's four-inch Feana Fox:

I think she's sweet!  She has the same style of outfit (and the same messy hair) as Felicity, but she's really tiny and her features are more babyish.

Girl needs a hair cut.
The hair is way too thick and stiff for a four-inch doll.  I wish she had a finer, more flowing type of hair...and a better hair cut.  On a positive note, because she's so small, she has less hair than her big sister, and therefore less hair to manage.

Feana balances on her own much better than Felicity, and I suspect some of this has to do with the fact that she has a short vinyl fox tail instead of a long fuzzy one:

The tail is still positioned in the middle of her back, which is strange, but it had to be placed so that it wouldn't interfere with her skirt.  So I get it.

Like Felicity, Feana came with a plastic headband secured to her head with plastic ties.  I removed the band so that I could see the ears, hair, and rooting more clearly:

Omg, her hair is so scraggly.
Feana's hair looks more sparsely-rooted than Felicity's (at least on top) but that could just be because she's so small.

The hair plugs around the hairline and the side part are tightly-packed, but the areas in back look more bare:

I was able to tame Feana's hair a little bit with my fingers, but it's still a distraction from her cute face:

So I tied the hair back into a simple ponytail:

Feana's face paint has a similar pattern to Felicity's, with a decorative orange fur pattern surrounding large, upward-glancing blue eyes:

Feana's face paint is not pixelated, but it has little specs of lighter color that lessen the overall clarity and vibrancy of the design.  Still, there are no smudges or paint defects, and I think the expression is cute.

Feana's tank top is also painted, but the style of paint is different here.  There are no little specks of color, no pixelation that I can see, and the colors are bright and clear:

Feana's removable clothing includes a pair of neon pink vinyl boots and an orange fabric skirt with a multicolor flower print:

Again, I find the clothing too generic.  I really wish there was a cool foxy pattern--you know, like footprints or a pointy fox nose.  I always appreciated when Monster High dolls had a special, character-specific print for their clothing.

Feana's body has six points of articulation, and most of these joints operate in the same way as Felicity's.  Her neck has simple rotation, so it can only spin around:

Her shoulders are rotating hinges, so her arms can lift straight up:

And they can spin around:

I didn't include Felicity's tail as a point of articulation, but I will add Feana's tail to her joint count.  The tail can spin all of the way around and hold its position:

The articulated plastic tail is quite helpful for balance, too.  It can shift Feana's weight a little from side to side when she's standing, and also help support her when she's sitting down:

Feana can also do better front-to-back splits than her big sister:

Here's Feana back in her full outfit:

The hair has a life of its own.
I think she's adorable and just wish that her hair looked better and was easier to manage.

Feana's fox friend, Mixte, is made entirely out of plastic and has a different mold than Flick:

She's standing on her hind legs and waving with her left arm.  She has a happy face and is painted well.  I actually feel like this tiny fox is painted better than the 2017 Flick.

Mixte's tail is stationary and does not rotate:

She has no painted decoration (and no aliens) on her back:

Feana and Mixte are fun to pose together because they can both stand on their own without a huge effort on my part:

Feana is always looking upwards, so it can be hard to get both of them to look at the camera...

But it's possible:

I did lot of size comparisons with the standard Enchantimals back in 2017, but as a reminder, Felicity is about an inch taller than a Chelsea doll, and Feana is the same size as a Barbie toddler:

From left: Barbie toddler, Enchantimals little sister, Barbie Chelsea, and standard Enchantimal.
It's interesting because both Chelsea and the traditional Enchantimals are advertised as being six inches tall, but they are clearly not the same height.  In reality, Chelsea is just under five and a half inches, and Felicity is six and a quarter inches tall.

I was also curious to see how the Enchantimals compare to the Barbie Extra Minis and Extra Mini Minis:

From left: Barbie Extra Mini Mini, Enchantimal little sister, Barbie Extra Mini, and standard Enchantimal .
The Extra Mini and Extra Mini Mini dolls are both shorter than their comparable Enchantimal, but the sizes are pretty close.

Felicity is almost exactly the same size as an MGA Extra Iconic Mini doll like Aria:

Extra Iconic Mini doll (left) and Enchantimal (right).
If it weren't for her painted-on top and long fuzzy tail, Felicity might be able to share some of the Extra Iconic Mini clothing:

Felicity trying to wear an Extra Iconic Mini dress.
Here are Felicity and Feana one more time:

It was fun to look at Felicity Fox again after all of these years.  Some of the things that I remember being frustrating about the original, like the messy hair and the poor balance, are still frustrating.  But the newer Felicity has much better face paint, and this small change makes a big difference.  I think the 2021 version has more personality than the original, and she feels higher-quality, too.  However, I was surprised to find that I like Feana even more than I like her big sister.

Feana's hair is a mess, and the fiber feels too bulky for her tiny body, but because she has less hair than Felicity, it's easier to manage.  Feana's balance is also better than her sister's; she can stand on her own quite reliably.  Feana's face paint is not as crisp and clear as Felicity's but I prefer her facial expression.  She has rounded, babylike features and large eyes.  I wish she wasn't always looking upwards, but she's shorter than pretty much all of the other dolls I have hanging around, so it makes sense.  Feana has a hard vinyl tail, and while this isn't as soft or realistic as Felicity's fur tail, I like it better.  It doesn't get tangled up in the hair, it never looks messy, it doesn't interfere with balance, and it even has a simple rotational joint.  I also prefer Feana's companion, Mixte, to Flick.  Flick is cute, but that strange handle on her back is a problem.

Overall, Felicity and Feana have some issues, but I enjoyed them more than I enjoyed the 2017 dolls. 

I was happy to see a few boy characters in the Enchantimal lineup, and actually laughed out loud when I saw photos of the rooster boy, Redward Rooster.  So he had to join this review:

I don't think I've ever seen a rooster-themed doll.
Redward's companion is a hen named Cluck, and the two friends are shown in an adorable embrace on the box:

Here's a closer look:

As I recall, the older boxes used to include a little snippet of information about each character's personality, but that seems to be missing from the newer packaging.

Redward and Cluck are from 2019, so they're older than Felicity and Feana.  Over the years, there have been seven male dolls (and a bunch of male animal companions).  

The male dolls include Redward, of course, but also Patterson Penguin, Hixby Hedgehog, Bannon Bear, Cole Cat, Tomas Turtle (a little brother), and Alessandro Lion.  I had to look up a photo of Alessandro Lion because he sounds very impressive:

Sure enough, he looks pretty great.  But he didn't make me laugh.  And he doesn't have a bright red faux hawk like Redward:

I'll take a closer look at Cluck in a minute, but first let's focus on Redward and his hair.  After fussing around with the messy rooted hair on Felicity and Feana, this molded hair was a nice break.

It looks a bit like a helmet, though.
I love the bright red color, and the shape is awesome, too, with short sides and spiky longer hair in the middle.  It's very reminiscent of a rooster:

Here's Redward from the back:

I'd love to know how the designers dream up the face paint patterns for these dolls.  I think Redward's face paint is cool, but I don't think I ever would have come up with this pattern after looking at a real chicken:

Here's a public domain image of a rooster for reference:

Real roosters have a lot of red on their faces.  But that probably would have looked funny on a doll.  I like the way Redward's paint hints at feathers and a beak without obscuring his human characteristics.  The yellow circle in the middle of his forehead is a bit odd, but kinda works.

One change I'd make is to give Redward some more intense eyes.  Like this:

I might peck you.
On closer inspection, Redward has a few dark smudges here and there, but overall his face is nice, with bright colors, clean lines, and no pixelation:

One problem is that his left eye is wonky.  If you compare the position of the pupil on that side to the normal side, you'll see what I mean.  The left iris is shifted to the outside of the eye, but the pupil is still centered.  This makes it difficult to get Redward to look directly at the camera.

Redward's outfit is mostly molded and painted to his body, but he has two items of clothing that are made out of fabric: his bandana and his vest:

The bandana has a knot in front, but actually opens in the back with a small square of velcro:

I was relieved to see the velcro because I did not want to wrestle with a knot that small.

The vest is made out of a lightweight plaid fabric that has a fuzzy feeling--like flannel:

The vest is a little hard to get on and off because of Redward's stiff, straight arms, but it does come off:

The reverse side of the vest is all white, and the construction is simple:

Underneath the vest, Redward has a painted shirt with blue sleeves and a sunrise pattern.  His pants are brown with tan markings:

I like how the shirt's sleeves are rolled up and have creases molded into them:

The back of the shirt is white in the middle, with no pattern.  There are several factory marks, though, including a 2017 copyright:

The backs of the legs also have molded factory marks, and two molded pockets:

Superfluous factory marks.
The pattern on the front of the pants confuses me.  I'm not sure if the lighter areas are meant to be rips in the pants, worn areas of fabric, or perhaps dirt from the farm?

Or maybe a Rorschach test?
I like Redward's shoes, though.  They're brown hiking boots with thick treads and molded stitches and laces:

And because Redward has flat feet, he can stand on his own even without the boots:

Redward's joints are similar to what we saw on Felicity and Feana.  He has five points of articulation (neck, shoulders, and hips).

His head can spin around, but not look up or down:

His shoulders are rotating hinges, so he can lift his arms up:

And spin them around:

He has a tiny bit of side-to-side movement in his hips:

Should we even count that, though?
But can mostly only move his legs back and forth...and even then, not enough to do full splits:

Just some weird break dancing.
But he can sit solidly on the ground:

If you don't count his spiky hair, Redward is the same size as Felicity:

His balance is also much better than hers, so it was nice to have him around to lend some support!

Redward's companion, Cluck, is cute, but looks a little worried:

Is the sky falling?
Maybe she's worried about the huge claw grip that's coming out of the back of her head:

This handle has a slightly different shape than what we saw on Flick.  It has some gripping ridges that make me think of insect mandibles.

Cerf-volant MHNT Close up
Not what you want on the back of your head.
And there's still a big hole in the hollow body:

Cluck's handle actually grips onto Redward's arms pretty well, so he can look like he's holding her...I guess:

That's not how I'd hold a chicken.

Relying on static electricity, apparently.
Maybe it's better if Cluck just stands next to Redward?  But the problem here is that if Red is looking at the camera, Cluck is looking down:

And if Cluck is looking at the camera, Red is looking up:

Never in synch.
Maybe it's better if they just lounge on the ground together:

Redward and Cluck are fun.  I wish Redward didn't have a wonky eye, and I wish Cluck didn't have a handle on her back, but overall they are fine.  Redward's articulation is very similar to Felicity's, but it felt more limited to me.  Perhaps better leg flexibility or a bent-arm mold would have helped.  I wish I was able to move Redward's head around more, too, since he always seems to be looking upwards.  In fact, this is a change I'd like to see in all of the Enchantimals.  Ball and socket heads would make such a big difference!  

But I like Redward's bright faux hawk hair and feathery face paint, and I think the fabric parts of his outfit are well-conceived.  Most of all, it's great to see some male characters in the Enchantimal lineup.  Not only is a mix of genders more inclusive, but it allows the males of sexually dimorphic animal species--like roosters--to be represented accurately.  

Mattel doesn't seem to care too much about that, though, given that all of their peacock dolls are female:

Exhibit 1.
Exhibit 2.
Exhibit 3.
Incidentally, peahens can fan their tails, to scare off enemies or protect their babies, but their tail feathers are not bright blue and green and do not have an eye pattern.

Not worthy of a doll, I guess.
Oh, and while we're at it, female narwhals almost never have tusks.  It's an overwhelmingly male feature.

Sorry, Nadine and Sword.
I had a good time with Felicity, Feana, and Redward, but have to say that the toy in this review that I was most excited about was the Secret Besties set.  I found this for under $10, and could not believe how fun it looked for that price:

Enchantimals Secret Besties Cambrie Cow Farmhouse.
Not only does little Cambrie Cow look cute, but she comes with a barn and a six-piece nesting doll set.  With surprise animals!

Now, granted, if you actually want the animals to be a surprise, you have to be careful when shopping online and don't look too carefully at the box.  The back of the box blacks out the hidden animals, but the front of the box shows enough detail in the silhouettes that you can see what they are.  And many of the promotional photos show all of the animals.

The back of the box has a photo of the set I purchased, along with two other Secret Besties toys:

There's Peeki Parrot with her tiger friend:

And Bree Bunny with a bear companion:

Cambrie and the other sets on the box are from 2020, and there were two additional Secret Besties characters released in 2021.  There's Pawbry Polar Bear:

And Griselda Giraffe:

I'm straight-up in love with Griselda and her elephant, but can't find her anywhere.  I'll just have to be happy with the set that I have!  Which is easy to do.

Cambrie, her cow, and her barn were all held in place by a tight-fitting molded plastic shell, and the barn had a rubber band for added security:

It was very easy to get everything out of the package:

First, let's look at the barn:

It's bright and colorful, with red walls and a purple roof.  There's a little loft window, and a brown door.  The barn is decorated with painted sunflowers on the front, and cow horns on the roof!

The back of the barn does not have any painted decorations, but it does have a molded scene with some gardening equipment, a ladder, and even some strings of twinkle lights!

Not only does the front door of the barn hinge open:

But there's a little latch on one side that can be released to open the whole barn:

This makes a great little play area for the dolls:

There's a cheerful scene on one side with two chickens and some barn-themed items:

I don't generally like bulky plastic accessories with my dolls, but I have to admit that this barn is great.  It worked nicely as a storage case for me when I had to transport Cambrie and her friends around, and I think little kids would have fun playing with it.

Cambrie herself is not like any of the other Enchantimals that I've seen.  She's only three and a half inches tall and has vinyl hair:

Her hair is all black, but has some molded waves and uneven lengths to make it look more realistic:

She also has droopy cow ears and huge permanent horns coming out of the sides of her head:

I have to interject here, lest you think Mattel has gone the peacock route with Cambrie, giving her horns and all.  

It might feel uncommon to see cows with horns, but most cattle have horns, it's just that they tend to be removed on dairy cows for safety reasons.

Girl horns.
With those horns, Cambrie is almost the same size as Feana, but if you only count from her feet to the top of her head, she's a good half inch shorter:

Secret Besties Cambrie Cow (left) and little sister Feana Fox (right).
And despite her heavy head, Cambrie can still balance better than Felicity and about as well as Feana.

Cambrie's face has the same basic style as the other Enchantimals, with painted features that reflect the animal she is associated with, but I think her expression is much more dynamic:

She has an almost square-shaped face, with smiling eyes, raised eyebrows, a cute red nose, and a close-mouthed smile.  She has flecked paint like Feana, which isn't as nice as Felicity's paint, but overall I really like her face.  She has a lot of personality!

Cambrie's outfit works in a similar way to the other Enchantimals in that she has a painted shirt and a removable skirt and shoes.

She has flat feet, though, so she can stand on her own even without her boots:

The cowboy boots are all brown with some molded details and a wide slit in the back:

These boots are really hard to get off.  I think it's because there's very little to hold on to.  The up-side is that they're definitely not going to randomly fall off like certain Barbie shoes.

The skirt is blue with a cow spot pattern and an elastic waist:

Underneath the skirt, Cambrie has pink plastic underwear that matches her painted cowgirl shirt:

The shirt itself is painted fairly well, with a bit of missing color on the left side:

The painted polka dots of the shirt continue on the back, which is nice.  There's also a 2020 copyright date and some other markings here :

Cambrie has five joints (neck, shoulders, hips).  Unlike the other Enchantimals, she does not have hinged joints in her shoulders, so all five of her joints are limited to only simple rotation.

She can spin her head around but not look up or down:

It's good, though, because her head doesn't tip upwards as it spins, like it does on the other Enchantimals.

She can also spin her arms around...until they collide with her hair, at least!

And her legs are capable of front-to-back splits, but she can't balance in this position:

More break dancing??
She can balance in a sitting position, though:

Cambrie and her barn are way cuter than I expected.  But the real star of the show is the nesting farm animals!  I was so excited to play with these.

The largest animal is, understandably, a two-inch tall white and black cow with a cheeky smile on its face: 

The cow is appealing, and has the same smiling eyes as Cambrie.  There are a few smudges and a few areas of thin or missing paint, but the cow is so small that these things are not easy to see.

The entire back of the cow is plain, with no painted elements:

Now, what could be inside of the cow?  Like, what farm animals are smaller than a cow but leave room for other smaller animals?  

I'd probably have guessed a goat first, in large part because of the I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly song.  I think in most versions of that song the cow swallows a goat.  

Sheep or donkey would also work, though.  Lets's see what it is!

Even from the back, it's clear that this is a sheep:

Or mashed potatoes.
It's a little black-faced sheep!

This little guy has a highly-pixelated face, but is very cute.  He even has a little bit of tongue sticking out, and some maggots on his chest.

Fly strike strikes again.
But, again, the back side is very plain in comparison:

Like cauliflower.
Now, what could fit inside a sheep?  Maybe a miniature pig or a dog?

Something purple, I guess:

An eggplant!
I can't think of any purple mammals.  I don't think there are any.  There are purple birds, though!  Like this beautiful violet-backed starling:

Violet-backed starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster verreauxi) male

It's not a violet-backed starling, though.  It's a cat!

The cat is very cute...and very purple:

Maybe she ate too many eggplants?
I like her green eyes because both of my cats have green eyes.

There's a long molded tail on the back:

Okay, now we must be getting in to bird territory, right?  On the other hand, my neighbor's chickens are bigger than my cats, so I'm not sure what kind of bird it could be. 

A duck or a chick, maybe?

It's a tiny little chicken:

This chicken has a heart-shaped red wattle, blushing cheeks, and side-glancing blue eyes.  And a bunch of maggots feathers on its chest:

There are molded wings on either side, but no decoration in the back:

For reference, here's the Secret Besties chicken alongside Redward's chicken, Cluck:

Secret Besties chicken, (left) and Redward Rooster's chicken, Cluck (right).
This is the point in the nesting doll sequence that I absolutely love, because it feels like there couldn't possibly be another animal inside the tiny chicken...but there is!

So what could it be?  We already had a cat, so it can't be a cat or a kitten, but what other farm animals are smaller than a chicken?  Oh!  It could be a mouse.  There are tons of mice on farms.

Eek!  Did you swallow a mouse??
Let's see if it's a mouse...

Definitely not a mouse.  There are no yellow mice.

I think it's a little duckling:

I mean, it might be a chick, but I think it's a duckling.

Those are duck lips.
The amazing thing is that the duckling opens, too!  So there's something even smaller than a duckling in there:

A frog, maybe?
Even after I opened the duckling up, the thing inside didn't come out.  But I can see that it's pink:

Is it a worm?
It's not a worm...

It's a little pink flower:

That's lame, actually.  I wish it had been a worm.  Or a maggot!  They should have stuck with the animal theme, in my opinion.

But still, this is a fairly impressive lineup for a matryoshka toy that cost under $10:

The nesting animals are all made out of plastic, so they feel a little cheap compared to a more traditional matryoshka doll, but they are well-engineered.  All of the animals are quite easy to open, and none of the bottoms fall off when I don't want them to.  It's a sturdy, fun little toy that I think children over three or four years of age could handle.  The smaller pieces make it a choking hazard for really little kids.

For some perspective, I searched around on Amazon to see what other farm animal nesting toys are available, and I found this wooden set that looks really cute:

The smiling cow lured me in.
This set also has six pieces, and all of them are animals (no flowers).  However, if you look closely, the animals don't make a lot of sense.  The progression starts well, with cow, horse, pig.  That's reasonable, I guess, although horses can be really big.  Maybe it's a pony.  Fine.  But then there's a blue bird, a zebra (?) and a red penguin (??).  Did the artist get distracted half way through and start drifting off to other continents?  I can't even imagine trying to explain this toy to a child.  And it costs $16.99.

With the Secret Besties, I'd have bought the nesting animals on their own for around $7, easy, so including Cambrie and the barn for $10 seems like an amazingly good deal.  And now of course I want all of the other Besties toys, too.  Especially Griselda.  Love her.

One of the reasons that I wanted to review the Enchantimals now, and especially this farm-themed set, is that recently my husband and I took a mini vacation at an old farm house in Pennsylvania.  We've always dreamed of owning an old farm house, but they're not really in our budget, so we compromised by spending two nights at somebody else's old farm house.

I took the opportunity to get some photographs of my new Enchantimals against the beautiful Pennsylvania scenery:

Here's Cambrie against the stone wall of a cottage that is on the property:

She explored around...

Until she found this comfy-looking moss tuft:

Which was perfect for a little rest (and maybe some light grazing?):

Cambrie also had fun playing on the old farm equipment, like this wooden wheel:

And an old grindstone:

Be careful, Cambrie!
While Cambire was exploring, I tried to get all of the farm animals in line for a few portraits:

They were worried about getting lost in the long grass, so stuck close to the house:

Some natural friendships formed, between the two birds:

Let's roost together.
And the two ungulates:

Let's ruminate together.
The cat felt a little left out, but distracted herself by sneaking around in the vegetation:

Hunting for eggplants.
The stark contrast between the 1800s house and these bright, plastic toys was harsh at times, but I enjoyed the juxtaposition of old and new.

I also brought Redward on this trip, and he felt right at home:

He and Cluck enjoyed climbing all over everything.

Roofs were a favorite, clearly:

But any structure with footholds for climbing attracted them:

You can't really tell what they're climbing on in this next picture, but it was actually the old abandoned chicken coop at the farm!

Very appropriate.
A fox in the chicken coop is a dangerous thing, I know, but I even invited Felicity and Feana to come along on this trip:

Felicity promised that they would behave.

And it's hard to imagine sweet little Feana getting into any trouble.

The girls found this bright red berry wreath hanging on the wood shed, and thought it might compliment their hair and outfits:

It does, but I think a red barn backdrop suits them better:

Felicity and Flick enjoyed exploring the unusual vegetation:

Felicity's favorite plant was this Persian silk tree, which attracted a lot of bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds!

One thing I noticed about these two when I had them outside at the farm house is that their hair becomes a lot easier to manage when it gets hot (and this was the week where it was nearly 100 degrees every day).  The fiber was easier to smooth and re-shape with my hands, and I think it looks less messy overall.

They certainly photograph better in natural light than they do indoors.  And that makes sense.  No creature wants to be trapped inside, and I suppose it must be the same for animal-themed humanoids like the Enchantimals.

Bottom line?  It's interesting how time and perspective can change my impression of a brand.  When the Enchantimals first came out, it was in 2017 when Ever After High had just been discontinued.  And it looked like Monster High was on the chopping block next.  Back then, the Enchantimals felt a bit like a cheap replacement for two well-loved doll lines, and that made me like them less.  However, with six years separating me from that time, and with the nostalgia of Ever After High swirling around in my head, the Enchantimals seem more like old friends that have been rediscovered.  Now, their resemblance to Ever After High doesn't irritate me, it enhances my affection for them.  I can see that they're cute, wholesome, and great fuel for the imagination.  I would have loved these toys as a kid.

It helps that the dolls have improved slightly since my last review.  Most notably, the face paint on the newer dolls is bright and clear, with none of the pixelation and flaws that I saw on the earlier versions.  The animal companions have better paint, too, and are missing the furry accents that made some of the 2017 pets (such as Lorna's poodle-like sheep) look ridiculous.  However, many of the issues that I noticed in 2017 persist to this day.  First of all, the dolls are minimally articulated and some of them have very poor balance.  This is acceptable for the most part, but I really wish that the heads were more flexible.  Many of the characters are always looking up, and this alienates them from me and makes it hard for them to interact with each other and their pets.  Also, the hair quality has not improved over the years.  Felicity and Feana's hair always looks so messy!  The hair fiber is too bulky and stubborn for dolls this size.  The clothing has not changed much since my last review, expect perhaps a slight improvement in the painted tops.  Some of the characters have outfits that reflect their animal association, but others, like Felicity and Feana, have generic clothing that does nothing to strengthen their connection to foxes.

The Secret Besties, which were introduced in 2020, sidestep a few of the problems with the standard Enchantimals.  First of all, they have vinyl hair, so you don't have to deal with flyaways or stubborn hair fiber.  The Bestie dolls only have five points of articulation, with no rotation in the shoulders, but their 3.5-inch size makes that more forgivable.  Cambrie also has better balance than some of the larger dolls.  But the real fun of the Secret Besties is the six nesting animal figures that are included, five of which are marketed as surprises.  There's not much of a surprise in the end, especially if you shop online and see the promotional photos, but the animals are cute, they're easy to take apart and put together, and they make fun, durable companions for Cambrie.  They also have all of the excitement and dexterity-building value of any matryoshka-style toy.  I adore the Secret Besties.

As awesome as the Secret Besties are, perhaps the best thing that's happened to the Enchantimals over the last six years is the explosion of different species that are represented.  I had so much fun scrolling though all of the options, and was literally giggling with glee at some of the unconventional choices.  There are elephants, penguins, lions, dragons, unicorns, tree frogs, hedgehogs, zebras, jellyfish, narwhals, sloths, dogs, cows, rabbits, kangaroos, guinea pigs...you name it!  It's hard to think of an animal (especially a mammal) that's not included.  It reminds me a lot of the excellent diversity in the Calico Critter lineup.  And this type of diversity simply could not have existed back in 2017, when the brand was shiny new.  There hadn't been enough time to build up the impressive repertoire that we see today.  

It's a lot like this blog, actually.  I can remember way back at the beginning, when it felt like there were a million dolls to review and I'd only talked about three or four.  I guess it still feels like I can't work fast enough to keep up with the vast number of dolls in the world (especially when I re-review something I've talked about before...), but I'm hundreds of dolls closer than I was before, and that feels pretty good.


  1. I hadn't checked for updates in awhile so this was a double update day for me, since I only saw your last post today. I loved this post, Cambrie and the nesting animals are my favorites. I didn't know Enchantimals had tiny dolls like that. I'm not too familiar with the brand. I'm curious about the bigger ones now too. Thank you for the review!love the outdoor pics.

    1. Thank you for your nice words. :) Cambrie and the nesting animals are my favorites, too! What a great concept for a toy. I'm also intrigued by the larger dolls--still trying to decide if they're worthy of another Enchantimal review. I especially like the 8-inch dolls with knee joints. In fact, I think a few of the 6-inch dolls have knee joints, too, so that's a whole other avenue of exploration. There are so many options with this brand now!

  2. I love seeing Enchantimals! I think they're all very cute and a great size for making little scenes and displays with. I'm definitely interested in the little tree frog and narwhal!!

    The new Magic Mixes Pixlings remind me of Enchantimals and recently had me eyeballing ones I didn't collect at Amazon as well. Apparently there's a lot I don't have! Thanks for all these various looks!

    I hope someday they could revive this line as well as Ever After High. I think there was a lot of potential there they didn't get to really work with.

    Speaking of possible reboots, I recently grabbed Shadow High Zooey Electra and all of the Novi Stars accessories had me very hopeful. I never thought they'd bring back Monster High, and here we are!

    1. Hi Ashley! Isn't that tree frog hysterical? And I can vouch for Nadine the narwhal. She's super-sweet. I have a few Pixlings for review! They look really cute (and with lots of joints!). I'll be sure to compare them to an Enchantimal side-by-side.

      Zooey certainly seems to be telegraphing a Novi Stars re-boot, doesn't she? I wasn't a huge fan of the Novi Stars when they first came out (no articulation!) but I can see in retrospect how unique they are and can understand their popularity! I'd definitely give them another look, if only to give Zooey a friend. ;)

    2. I think a Novi Stars revival would be fun, but if I were MGA, I probably wouldn't risk relaunching what was always a cult hit. Maybe a collector doll or two as a throwback, but I don't know if Zooey is foreshadowing a full revival as much as paying her dues to MGA's previous aliens. I'd definitely be happy to see newer Novis because the brand could do a lot better with some reworking, but the practical side of me doubts MGA would take that risk. Fingers crossed, though.

  3. I love the pictures in the farm! And always enjoy so much your reviews. Thank you ❤️

  4. Lovely review, and I especially like the little nesting animals, so cute! It looks as though these dolls are discontinued in the UK as none of the main toy shops are stocking them (or they only have a few items left).
    By the way, not all cattle have horns as quite a lot of breeds are polled (bred to not have horns). Highland cattle have differently shaped horns depending on the sex of the animal.

  5. That farmhouse vacation looks lovely!

    I find the Enchantimals very sweet, and they're definetly something I'd have been drawn to as a child, though the inaccuracy to animals probably would have chaffed me. I would have, and still do, appreciate the variety of creatures they now represent! Especially ocean life. :) The nesting animals would have been a fav for sure, surprise creatures and a playset home for them? Perfect!

    I hope they'll get at least a few joints down the road, at least elbows. I see the purpose of the handles on the animals, but if they're just going to bizarrely levitate by the arm they're attached to, it seems more purposeful to just add an elbow to let them be held that way.

    Your maggots had me thinking, bugs could be a neat avenue to explore with this line. We're not likely to see fly larva, but why not a caterpillar, or a beetle?

  6. Never been an Enchabtimals fan, but the last picture is great! Love the barn with sunflowers and the nesting animals! I'd love a set with just cats - and no human doll.

  7. It was interesting to see all the updates in the line, especially the variety of animals and sizes. All your photos of the dolls in the wild are great.

  8. I never paid much attention to Enchantimals, but it's really fun to revisit them like this and to see that they're still going so strong. The fact that they're budget-friendly probably helps a lot, especially since there aren't a lot of other options for budget-friendly fantasy dolls out there.

    To me, the Enchantimals always seemed like a mix between Monster High (especially some of the G2 sibling characters), Ever After High, and the Equestria Girls dolls (I also see some Cave Club and maybe even Littlest Pet Shop in there, although Cave Club came later, of course).

    I think all the Enchantimals options (and there are indeed so many!) are especially great for younger doll fans. The Secret Besties with the matryoshka animals are the absolute highlight, however. Somehow, the whole concept of the Enchantimals seems to work best on the tiniest dolls, and the buildings remind me a lot of the wonderful worlds hidden in Polly Pocket compacts, even though these ones don't necessarily have any activities inside. Like you, I also adore matryoshka dolls and I still have this old wooden set from my childhood with all types of cats on them! I would definitely buy the Secret Besties toys for my little niece. I think I'm fine not having the Enchantimals in my own collection, but I certainly appreciate them for what they are. (And I have to admit, when you mentioned a guinea pig doll I immediately went off the rails and she is now sitting in my wishlist waiting till her price drops, hahaha.)

  9. I didn‘t even know Enchantimals were still a thing! But the farmhouse set is so so so adorable and the little cowgirl has such a sweet face! I checked what‘s available around me and found the little cow, the polar bear and a parrot set on sale (sadly no sight of the Giraffe set).
    I blame you ;)

  10. You’re really a great photographer! I love your photos of dolls out in the world, they look like they’re having such a fun time!

  11. If Enchantimals are still Mattel, then the craptastic hair fiber is polypropylene. Their rooting machines at the factories can't currently handle nylon, I believe is what was said at some point in the last year.
    The designers choose poly because it comes in colors Saran doesn't come in - if their machines could handle nylon, the color choice would not impact the quality of the fiber as much as it does now - Rainbow High proves Nylon comes in 2347854 colors LOL